Mount Canigou (Altitude: 2,784.00 m) / Village of Collioure, at the foot
of the Mediterranean sea.
The Languedoc Roussillon is located in the south west of France, on the Mediterranean coast, bordering northern Spain. It is a region that is exceptionally diverse in landscape, and rich in tradition and history.
As France’s largest wine-producing region, the Languedoc offers a fantastic range of reds, whites, rosés and sweet fortified wines such as muscat, and includes many renowned appellations such as Fitou and Côtes du Roussillon. A large part of its landscape is made up of vineyards, be they on far-reaching plains or on steep, rugged hillsides.
The backdrop of southern Languedoc is Mount Canigou (so named because it is shaped like a dog’s tooth). This is the highest peak of the Western Pyrennees and the familiar landmark is visible from as far away as Carcassonne and the Haut Languedoc. The ski resorts of the Pyrennees include the family-friendly slopes of Font Romeu (the sunniest place in France with 300 days of sunshine a year) Les Angles, Formiguères, Cambre d’Aze and Pyrennees 2000.
The European Blue Flag beaches of the Aude and Pyrennees Orientales offer miles of clean sand and sea. The saltwater lagoons of Sigean, Leucate and Canet provide leisure activities, wildlife protection and production of salt, oysters and mussels. Further south towards Argelès and Collioure the coastline changes to rocky coves as it reaches the border with the Costa Brava. This area was made famous by the artists of the Fauvist movement: Matisse, Dufy and Dérain all spent time here.
The region includes a number of vibrant towns and cities, and diverse cultural attractions. Carcassonne is the second most visited city in France after Paris and its medieval walled town has been the backdrop to many films. Narbonne is an ancient Roman town, well-known for its twice weekly market and superb food hall. The Canal du Midi is a listed heritage site and provides plenty of picturesque spots to visit as it winds through the Minervois. Perpignan is a cosmopolitan city, rich in Catalan traditions with great shopping, restaurants and bars.
The region enjoys excellent connections. Toulouse and Montpellier are easily reached by motorway and there are good rail links to Paris and other major cities by TGV (the high speed train). The capital of Catalonia, Barcelona, is only two hours away by car and will soon be just an hour by train from Perpignan when the new TGV link opens. There are several airports in the region: Carcassonne, Montpellier, Toulouse, Béziers and Perpignan, many of them served by low-cost flights from all over Europe.
The region enjoys a generally mild and dry climate with lots of sunshine. The prevailing wind, the Tramontane, is from the North West; a warm breeze in the summer, it can blow quite cold in the winter but brings with it clear blue skies and sunshine.
If you haven’t visited the region yet, what are you waiting for ?